The Cycle of Abuse
There are four distinct phases that make up the cycle of abuse. If you are in an abusive relationship, the following will sound very familiar to you. You’re not crazy, he just makes you think you are.
The tension-building phase:
You are loving, nurturing, and comply with all of his requests. Of course you walk on eggshells the whole time hoping not to spark an outburst. You cover up your partner’s behavior with your friends and family and act as if everything is o.k. You pretty much do anything to keep the peace and take on most of the responsibilities to maintain what little bit of tranquility you have. All the while he is becoming more and more agitated, more controlling and jealous.
The battering phase:
After weeks of listening to him put you down, terrorizing you, your pets, or your children, the name calling, the blaming, and degrading everything you do, you may even begin challenge, antagonize, and encourage him to come after you; only because you know it’s coming anyway but may as well get it over with. This is the stage when he can get extremely violent. This is when the abuse happens. It can be as simple verbal and emotional abuse or it can get physical such as pushing and shoving. It can also be as violent as black eyes and broken bones (even rape). This is the phase where someone can get seriously injured requiring medical attention or it can be fatal.
The “honeymoon” phase:
“I’m so sorry, baby; I don’t know why I did this. It will never happen again.” He begs for your forgiveness and promises he will do anything to change as long as you swear you will never leave him. At the same time he is convinced that he made his point and possibly makes you feel you are to blame for his actions. He will then proceed to tell you he cannot, will not, live without you. He will make you believe that something terrible will happen if you do making you fear the worst. He may even threaten to commit suicide if you leave him.
The calm phase:
This is the phase where you believe your abuser will change. You begin to believe he wants to change due to the fact that he is loving, gentle, and kind. When he is sure you are once again compliant, it maybe a week, maybe a month, he begins to ridicule and torment and the tension once again begins to build.
No, you’re not crazy, he has used this method to simply make you believe you are. This vicious twisted cycle is how he controls you and literally breaks you down making you believe you deserve what is happening to you. You must break the cycle to save your sanity and begin to rebuild your self-esteem and self worth.
Most of the time, but not always, there are signs of what to expect. Then again, violent outbursts can happen at a moments notice. Even more importantly, it is inevitable that it will continue to escalate over time and it will certainly never get better. You can’t change him; no matter how much you comply with his demands and no matter how much you love him. It is even quite questionable if these men can change at all.
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